Cidre de Rhuys Brut
I love Ciderie Nicol Cidre de Rhuys Brut (5.5% alcohol by volume) because my local liquor store, South Lyndale Liquors, usually sells it at a 42% discount and it is a damn good cider. It is a dry cider from Brittany, France. My bottle is three years old but it is lively. I pull the cork and I release a cloud of vapor and then the foam gushes up and about a quarter cup of foam dampens my table cloth. Even before I begin filling the glass, I catch a strong apple and fruit aroma. There is also some apple skin and some varietal apple notes. There is a hint of malolactic fermentation but the fermentation character is fairly clean. The glass fills with about two-thirds brilliant gold cider and one third foam. The mousse is champagne brief but beautiful. It is very effervescent and light on its feet, floating through the mouth like a cloud, lighting coating everything in its path with rich, layered apple and fruit flavors. A moderate tartness pleasantly balances the apple and fruit and a dash of tannins on the end help dry things out. Like many Bretagne and Norman cider makers, the Nicol family leaves you wondering how can they pack so much apple flavor and spirit into a bottle of cider. Right now I am enjoying the current bottle with a half dozen Kumamotos purchased from Coastal Seafood this morning. The oysters are very salty, brothy and meaty with a firm texture and they enhance the oyster flavors. The pairing conjures up bacon flavors and teaches us that apple and bacon go very well together. Absent oysters or fish, try this with Alta Langa Cammembert, a runny Epoisses, or a Jasper Hill Creamery Harbison washed in Presto Proseco that is aged to the point where you have to eat it with a spoon. I rate the cider 90.